Mushrooms cooked in this spicy, savory, creamy sauce make an excellent filling for sushi. I’ll show you how to rill it and make a cute rice ball.
Gather your ingredients!
This step is optional. If you like your rice on the fluffier side, rinse it under cold water in a strainer for a few passes. Stir them with your hand to rinse evenly.
Short grain rice is best for sushi, because its surface area and starch balance make it the stickiest!
One cup of rice makes about 4 rolls of sushi.
You will need twice as much liquid as dry rice.
To cook 1 cup of dry rice, add 4 tablespoons of unseasoned rice vinegar to 1 and 3/4 cups of water. Pour one cup of uncooked rice into the liquid, cover securely, and raise to a fast boil. Set the heat to low as soon as it reaches a fast boil, and let it simmer until all the moisture is absorbed by the rice grains. Stir a few times during this process, but mostly leave it alone. The rice is done when it is soft and there is no more standing water in the pot.
While this cooks, prepare the other fillings.
Transfer the cooked rice to a mixing bowl and stir it roughly with a rice paddle, almost mashing it. Add more rice vinegar to taste–the more you add, the stickier the rice will become, which makes it easier to pack into a roll or rice ball. While some prefer seasoned rice vinegar with sugar, I prefer the clean and healthy taste of the unseasoned variety.
Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1-2 tablespoons of garlic chili paste and 2 tablespoons Vegenaise or Just Mayo.
Heat a few tablespoons of sesame oil (or other vegetable oil) on high with a small piece of mushroom. When bubbles form around the mushroom, the oil is hot enough to cook the rest. Add 5 oz of shiitake mushrooms and cook, covered, until about half their water has been released.
Shiitake mushrooms have a wonderful, savory flavor, even when uncooked. Cooking them in oil will cause them to develop a buttery, meaty flavor.
Stir in the spicy sauce and sauté the mushrooms until they are pliable and tender. Overcooked shiitake mushrooms will be rubbery.
Splash your hands with salt water before handling the sushi rice. This will prevent the rice from sticking to you!
Set up a nori sheet on top of a makisu (巻き簾), a flexible mat made of bamboo and cotton string. The perforations on the nori sheet should be perpendicular to the strips of the makisu.
Spoon a thin layer of sushi rice onto 1/3 of the nori roll, patting with salted fingers to make a small indent along the middle into which you can lay the filling.
Spoon a thinner layer of sautéed mushrooms onto the rice.
Starting on the side with the rice and filling, bend the mat around the sushi, forming it into a tube. Squeeze the mat and sushi with both hands tightly and evenly–otherwise, it will fall apart when you try to cut it.
Dab a line of salt water on the nori-end of the tube to help it adhere
Before cutting the sushi, it is important to coat your knife in salt water. I do this between each cut! This prevents the sticky rice from clinging to the knife, allowing it to pass through cleanly.
Cut the roll into discs about one inch long, exposing the beautiful interior.
To make a rice ball (onigiri/
おにぎり) first, lay a portion of rice about the size of your palm into a 4″ dish or smaller. Indent the rice to make it the shape of a thick bowl.
Spoon about 2 tablespoons of mushroom filling into the indent.
Add a second, palm-sized layer of sushi rice on top of the filling. With salted fingers, press firmly around the sides to seal the two rice layers together.
To free the rice ball from the bowl, dig around the edges with a wide, flat spoon dipped in salt water.
Press the rice ball into a flat, triangular shape with your fingers.
Using about 2″ of a nori sheet (about 2 of the perforated strips) fold it around one corner of the triangle, like fastening a cloak about one’s shoulders.
The onigiri is a great hand food that can be eaten on the go.
Serve the sushi pieces with soy sauce and pickled ginger, to be eaten between each bite as a palate cleanser (not on top of the sushi pieces.)